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Game publisher Activision Blizzard exceeded its outlook for both the fourth quarter and full year 2019, but reported year-over-year declines in net revenues for both categories. The company saw Q4 2019 GAAP net revenues fall 17% to $1.99B USD, while FY 2019 net revenues declined 13% to 6.49B.
While the company as a whole declined, Activision saw a Q4 2019 increase in sales of 1% to $1.43B, largely due to strong sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the popularity of Call of Duty Mobile, which has passed 150M downloads. Full year net revenues still fell 10% for the publisher to $2.22B due in part to online shooter franchise Destiny exiting the company’s portfolio.
“Across console, PC, mobile and touchpoints like esports the momentum for Call of Duty could not be stronger,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick on an earnings call. “And this success illustrates the larger opportunities we have across our diverse and large wholly-owned library of titles dating back to our founding 40 years ago. Having our franchises on all platforms in all geographies with a constant flow of content and leveraging the additional touchpoints we have available to us like esports and advertising, continues to be our focus.”
In the company’s Q4 2018 earnings call, Kotick had warned that 2019 would be a “transition year” for the company. Blizzard Entertainment was a significant contributor to the decline due to a lack of major game releases. The publisher saw Q4 revenues fall 13% to $595M, with the year declining 25% to $1.72B.
However, the company did single out the success of World of Warcraft Classic, which has kept subscriber numbers for the long-running MMO title above pre-Classic figures since its launch in August of last year. According to Kotick, the company “doubled the size of the active World of Warcraft community in the second half of 2019.” Activision Blizzard plans to roll out more remastered games in the future.
The company has issued a conservative outlook for 2020, projecting a decline in full year revenues once again to $6.45B.
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